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Can You Get Unemployment When Forced To Resign

by Anna
(PA Unemployment)

Worked in PA. I was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of an accident...My department told me they decided on my termination because I have communication issues. Therefore, I was given two choices: to be discharged or to resign. Not willing to take a chance, I asked for resignation, and they dropped the investigation. Are there any chances for me to collect UC benefits while I am recovering from emotional distress and looking for a new job?

I need help to fill in a Claimant Questionnaire for Unemployed Compensation (UC). I have already submitted an initial application for UC stating the reason of loosing my job as quitting.

Answer For: Can You Get Unemployment When Forced To Resign?

I couldn't possibly know if YOU have a chance of getting unemployment benefits after being forced to resign.

However you told me enough that I would want to get further facts before offering an opinion on your chances.

Even though you resigned from your job it was under circumstances called a quit in lieu of being discharged .. and that is supposed to be adjudicated as a discharge for the simple reason that the employer was the moving party because you had no choice or options left except to choose between being fired or to quit.

So, your chance for getting unemployment is dependent on whether the employer can sustain that the reason for giving you this choice was based upon real misconduct.

By sustain .. I mean at an appeal hearing where a full fact finder is conducted giving you the opportunity to expose the weakness in the employer's burden of proof.

It is not uncommon for employees to be forced into quitting their jobs .. it's an effective strategy in some cases.

Nor is it uncommon, that employees are initially denied
benefits, but it is much less common that employees appeal this type of discharge and when they do, the main piece of evidence against them is a resignation letter which thanks an employer for the opportunity to work for them and doesn't expose any of the details leading to why they tendered that letter.

Talk about a bad move .. because trust me .. it's rare that an employer that documents actually rehires a person after they've gotten them to do this.

But, here's what I don't know and the beginnings of what you do need to consider with regard to getting unemployment benefits.

What exactly did the employer document and put into your personnel file? (Request that when you need it .. do this in writing. All Employer evidence should be found in a well maintained personnel file and many states have very specific laws about personnel files kept by employers.)

What might the employer do if you tell all now on the questionnaire and get benefits. Will the employer appeal?

Do you have documents (the resignation letter) in your possession to send along with the questionnaire which serve to rebut their burden now?

If the employer does appeal, who do you think will be their witnesses(es) at the hearing? Witnesses should have first hand testimony about the alleged misconduct and it should be supported by documentation. How will you rebut?

What exactly did you state in your resignation letter?

Did you make clear in that letter that you were being forced into writing it and why?

What was the original reason for the administrative leave?

Did it have anything to do with a "communication problem"?

Getting unemployment benefits really is in the details .. and who can prove their version is the most credible and therefore, factual account of what happened.

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Aug 23, 2012
by: Chrystal B.

You are right, NORMALLY! But I had the best union rep ever. She didn't allow me to sign any disciplinary forms. We never signed anything at that place. That way, AT&T would have to fight a little harder and they are such a big company that I honestly believe I just wasn't worth it to them!

Union? That means there was actually an employment contract in place .. vs. being an at will employee that only has an employee handbook with a disclaimer at the front stating that the employment is at will only and the employer has the right to terminate employment despite what is contained in the handbook.

It's likely a disclaimer about the employment relationship being "at will", which generally limits the possibility of proving wrongful discharge or termination.

The comment above is not intended to be legal advice, gotten only by consulting with an attorney, however as a former employee this is how I perceived the advantage of being a union employee vs. an at will employee that signed an acknowledgement for receipt of a handbook that had a disclaimer .. right up front.

What do you do then if you get fired before you filed an EEOC complaint?

You file for unemployment and hope you can compel the unemployment department to see that it really was the employer acting unreasonably.

By the way Chrystal, I have no idea as to when you'll finally receive you money .. other than what I said in a different comment.


Aug 22, 2012
by: Chrystal B.

I worked for AT&T and they changed my sales quota mid year. The quota was absolutely unattainable. The only people meeting their goals were the people who were defrauding accounts. I wasn't taking that chance! That being said, they pretty much told me I was in a corner and I needed to decide what I wanted to do. Well, I made my supervisor put in writing that I was to be terminated due to unsatisfactory performance. That way I could explain it. And that's exactly what I did. And I won!! First try!!

Good for you!! .. that you were able to MAKE your supervisor put it in writing.

Normally, a person has to include that kind of information in their resignation letter.

Jan 05, 2012
An Appeal
by: Anonymous

Yep, Chris is right! Denied under 402 (b)!
In addition, my employer did put two testifying letters from two people in my personnel file. The contingency of resignation was that there will be no evidence of alleged incident in my file. No trust to verbal contracts! Need to file an appeal? No chances I have, feels like.


It's natural to feel iffy about your chances of winning. I'd say it's even wise to feel this way because if anything, it should force you to understand you have to prepare a truthful, yet viable argument so the referee can see their way clear to finding in your favor.

Written statements without direct testimony from those that authored a statement is basically hearsay and carries less weight .. in fact I would object if an employer tried to submit a statement without the direct testimony.

Although you don't have a way to prove you resigned because of a promise to remove everything from your file .. you can still testify to what happened.

When there is only opposing testimony without documentation .. it becomes he said/she said and the referee is forced to determine who is the most credible.

An unemployment appeal hearing is not as simple as a state makes it sound .. nor is it as easy to represent yourself with success as some may tell you .. just because they lucked out due to some anomaly in the process.

I urge you to fill out the hearing rep referral form and have your case evaluated without spilling your guts on the details here.

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